How To Wiki

These methods will show you howto find all the basic codec, compression, bitrates, etc. of any video, audio, or other graphical multimedia.

Console based

file (Unix)

file (Unix) is an amazing little program that will give basic info on just about every file type. It does this by reading certain parts of the file to get basic stuff.

  • Ececute: file FILE_TO_GET_INFO
    • Example: file movie.avi
  • Output: movie.avi: RIFF (little-endian) data, AVI, 624 x 352, 23.98 fps, video: XviD, audio: MPEG-1 Layer 3 (stereo, 48000 Hz)
  • Output: audio.mp3: MPEG ADTS, layer III, v1, 320 kBits, 44.1 kHz, Stereo
  • Output: photo.jpg: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01
  • Normal text file
    • Output: textfile.txt: ASCII text
  • PDF file
    • Output: document.pdf: PDF document, version 1.5
  • Microsoft Word document
    • Output: document.doc: Microsoft Installer


  • identify chop.jpg
    • Output: chop.jpg JPEG 343x350 343x350+0+0 8-bit DirectClass 88.5KB 0.010u 0:00.020
  • identify -verbose chop.jpg
    • Output
Image: chop.jpg
  Format: JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group JFIF format)
  Class: DirectClass
  Geometry: 343x350+0+0
  Resolution: 72x72
  Print size: 4.76389x4.86111
  Units: Undefined
  Type: TrueColor
  Endianess: Undefined
  Colorspace: RGB
  Depth: 8-bit
  Channel depth:
    red: 8-bit
    green: 8-bit
    blue: 8-bit
  Channel statistics:
      min: 0 (0)
      max: 255 (1)
      mean: 194.617 (0.763205)
      standard deviation: 42.601 (0.167063)
      kurtosis: 1.98703
      skewness: -1.64869
      min: 0 (0)
      max: 255 (1)
      mean: 144.857 (0.568065)
      standard deviation: 81.7396 (0.320548)
      kurtosis: -1.52894
      skewness: -0.491915
      min: 0 (0)
      max: 255 (1)
      mean: 128.774 (0.504997)
      standard deviation: 85.5932 (0.33566)
      kurtosis: -1.64887
      skewness: -0.4056
  Image statistics:
      min: 0 (0)
      max: 255 (1)
      mean: 117.062 (0.459067)
      standard deviation: 95.46 (0.374353)
      kurtosis: -1.79467
      skewness: -0.151822
  Rendering intent: Undefined
  Interlace: None
  Background color: white
  Border color: rgb(223,223,223)
  Matte color: grey74
  Transparent color: black
  Compose: Over
  Page geometry: 343x350+0+0
  Dispose: Undefined
  Iterations: 0
  Compression: JPEG
  Quality: 100
  Orientation: Undefined
    comment: CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100

    date:create: 2010-10-06T14:40:21-06:00
    date:modify: 2010-10-06T14:40:11-06:00
    jpeg:colorspace: 2
    jpeg:sampling-factor: 2x2,1x1,1x1
    signature: 3e8d91d77f3b693f38633f1a877df75b2f943311bc16ed0f9002f4031a988f50
    verbose: true
  Tainted: False
  Filesize: 88.5KB
  Number pixels: 120K
  Pixels per second: 6.003M
  User time: 0.010u
  Elapsed time: 0:01.020
  Version: ImageMagick 6.6.2-5 2010-07-18 Q16


to be added


ffmpeg -i <filename>

The i switch is key. That stands for "input". Without specifying what operation to perform on the source/input file, it will revert to a default behavior of reporting (in addition to build information about the ffmpeg binary executable and its linked libraries,) info about the streams that the container file contains (consists of) , as well as how each individual (media) stream is encoded (what algorithm/format/codec). If metadata (in the container file) is available, such as timestamps, that will be output (reported) as well.

ffprobe is one of the front-end Apps (programs) that uses the back-end (underlying) ffmpeg libraries. It's purpose is to probe the (given source) file and report on it. In particular, it lists the media (multimedia) streams (usually one for video and one for audio) as well as what format / encoding the bitstream is compressed/encoded in. It can report metadata of the container file (such as a timestamp or author).

Is there any effective difference between (the output/result) of ffmpeg -i and ffprobe? Both make use of the same underlying libraries. Fleetwoodta (talk) 01:37, December 28, 2014 (UTC)


The codebase of (from) the FFMPEG project was forked into a new project that goes by the name of Libav. (one app is: AVconv.)



wikipedia: MediaInfo

official changelog

Download from official website

Media Player Classic

MediaInfo is used in Media Player Classic which is open-source freeware for Windows that
basically is a graphical front-end for/to/of Mplayer that looks like the good ol' U.I. of Windows Media Player 6.2 (1999 era).


Graphical based

to be added


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